HC Deb 31 March 1887 vol 313 cc75-6

asked the Postmaster General, Whether, in the agreement for the car- riage of British mails for Australia, the East, &c., across the Continent, and under which we submit to a toll of 1½d per letter, there is any Clause compelling us to send the whole of our mails by that route; and, if so, whether penalties for breach of agreement are provided; and, secondly, what steps he is taking to secure the use of the Trans-Continental service on more equitable and reasonable terms?

THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)

Under the agreement referred to by the hon. Member, the British Post Office is bound to send by the accelerated Indian mail train all mails for the East which make use of the Brindisi route, and this in return for concessions granted by the French and Italian Post Offices. Any breach of the agreement would simply lead to its termination. I have already stated, in reply to a previous Question of the hon. Member, that it is intended to make renewed efforts to obtain more favourable terms for the transit of the Indian mail viâ Brindisi as soon as the new service for the Australian mails is settled. Pending the settlement of that question, negotiations could not be opened with advantage.